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"What about socialization? It is the most persistent of all questions posed to homeschool...

Homeschool Socialization: An Imaginary Problem

9/12/2013 Michelle Cannon 14 Comments

"What about socialization?

It is the most persistent of all questions posed to homeschool parents. But is it a valid issue? 

People think homeschoolers don't socialize?

The homeschool socialization topic isn't one I often address. In fact, I was homeschooling for years and never had this topic posed to me at all. It was only after I began using the internet that I became aware that non-homeschoolers thought homeschoolers lacked socialization.

With all the neighborhood kids always playing at my house, my kids playing at their homes, my son always going surfing and skateboarding with his friends, attending theme parks, going to libraries, attending festivals and having sleepovers, I guess I just failed to notice there may be a problem with my kids getting enough social time. (Forgive the sarcasm dripping off of this paragraph.)

Seriously, I was clueless. I'd never had anyone question my choice to homeschool. Maybe that's unique to our area? I don't know.

Socialization and socializing are two different things

The truth is, when people express concern about socialization, what they are really wondering is how the kids will have friends if they don't go to school. There is a difference between socialization and socializing. Once we differentiate between the two, it can be clearly understood that all humans are socialized regardless of their circumstance.

Socialization is having the skills necessary to function within a group. If they belong to any group of humans, even if it's only their family, they are socialized.

Studies negate the homeschool socialization issue

Research has shown that homeschooled children fare as well or better in the area of social skills. I'm not going to quote all the studies out there. You can see some results here, here and here

Now that we've established that children are all socialized to whatever group they are exposed, let's get on with the real question.

Do homeschool children socialize?

Homeschool children do the same things as other kids. It's possible they do more because they don't have to spend 6-8 hours a day for 180 days of the year in one building. 

Not only do the children socialize with all sorts of people daily, but they usually have active homeschool lives. Each homeschool family operates in their own unique way, of course. We all use different methods and styles of education, different homeschool schedules, and different interests. I can only share with you what types of things our family does.

My family:

In this day and age of homeschooling, I think we've established that children are socialized and homeschoolers are busy with many social activities. There is no question about it. Homeschool socialization is just an imaginary problem. 

What has your experience been with the socialization question? 

Twenty-seven great bloggers from the iHomeschool Network have gotten together to address various aspects of the socialization topic. Please pay a visit to see what they all have to say on the matter at 

Original Photo: Duffy Images


Happy Homeschooling!


  1. It is sometimes a lack of knowledge problem too. Most of the people who have asked me, have never heard of homeschooling its not in their sphere of understanding. Thank you for sharing, all of these posts have been fantastic to read. Have a blessed day. Tara.

  2. I am a former teacher who now homeschools. In my area, it is common to hear the socialization question from teachers. When you can't fault the academics, motives, or curriculum, the only thing left to question is the socialization. It is usually a non issue. There are a few families who don't make an effort to have their kids spend time outside of their family, but I find them to be very few and far between.

    1. Exactly! Thanks for stopping in and leaving your thoughts, Jan!

  3. Anonymous9/13/2013

    I think too, when you are homeschooling you are able to have direct knowledge of how your kids are socializing and can provide support, feedback, and - if needed - correction. When kids are at school all day you have no clue what that looks like and you are relying on people you hardly know to teach those skills.

    1. I agree. A child is a child. That means they need adult direction and guidance. If they didn't, they could have been hatched like a duck rather than given loving, attentive parents.

      They don't get that type of guidance in school.

  4. I had an actual conversation on the beach once where a mom walked over to talk to me. She told me my son had approached her family to ask her sons to play and that they had chatted for a while. She said he asked her all kinds of interesting questions to find out who they were and were they were from. SHe then said, "So, your son said you homeschool. Don't you worry about proper socialization?"

  5. I have had people say to me, "Yes, they have friends and do things but they aren't the normal things. What about hanging out at football games and going to prom or just talking in the parking lot after school?" Apparently, to these people, socializing can only counts if it takes the same form and happens in the same place for everyone!

    1. They aren't normal things?! I'm confused. Schools are a relatively new thing in the grand span of time. We're doing what humans have done since the beginning of humankind, the normal thing.

  6. The socialization question is far and away the number one thing people come to me with, teachers especially (although one of my homeschool co-ops has two teachers in it who are homeschooling their own kids...). I find that we have far more time and energy for all the non-academic stuff now that we are homeschooling. I also find that the kids have more time to nurture relationships - there is more time for them to go out and play, more time for play dates, more time for just hanging out at the park. When we were in a brick and mortar school, by the time they came home, it was too close to dinner to do much, and after dinner there wasn't enough time before bed - which had to be early so they could get up so early for school. They would see friends outside of school maybe once a week tops. I honestly think homeschooling has improved my kids access to social opportunities and, although we haven't been doing it long, I'd be willing to bet their social skills have improved as well.

    1. I agree with all you've said! My kids had no life when they were in school.

  7. I agree that it's a completely imaginary issue. I find that I'm asked more about socializing/socialization from those who are considering homeschooling than from those who are not. Once they learn the difference in the above words it makes them sit back a minute and think. Wow, the media screws up the terminology? Woulda thunk that could happen?

    Then I usually give them a run down on what we as a homeschooling family did in the past week, "Okay, so on Monday #3 has gymnastics. Tuesdays are Kidsport for all followed by Karate for #1 & #2. More Karate on Wednesdays for everyone AND if it's the 2nd Wednesday then it's also Laser Tag for the trio. Thursdays are Park Days with our local group which leads to Friday field trips or theme parties like Halloween, Valentine's Day, or St Paddy's Day." By this time their eyes have usually gotten either very large or glazed over. As they sit and take it in I remind them, "It's not a question of the kids being 'socialized' or 'socializing,' you're worried if they'll have friends. Simply put: it's up to you. Will you make the same commitment to setting aside time for the kids to be with their friends on a regular basis just like you do for Math or Spelling or History?" This is when realization tends to dawn on them that they've been snookered. It's also when they tend to begin to understand that they hold the power. I love seeing that look happen. :)

    1. Stevi, Thanks for sharing this! I love how you handle it.

  8. Hey Michelle,
    I LOVE this post!
    I did a guest post for Hip Homeschool Moms awhile back and you might find it interesting and relevant to this. It's entitled "Forget Socialization- What about Personalization?"



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